|Cape Perpetua, OR|
10 Days of camping outside, with one of my best friends, driving up the beautiful Highway 1 from Los Angeles all the way to Washington.
That was what I did on my summer vacation. Ania had a fabulous idea to just get in my husband's SUV and drive up the coast, with little planning and a lot of trust. We packed the camping gear, some vegan road food like trail mix and fruit and veggies. The Ukulele, Bongos, Camera, iPod, and many books made it too, of course. It was definitely the cheapest vacation I have every taken (replacing Washington D.C. in college. Sorry D.C.) and the most enlightening.
I had many hours to think about my life and what I hope to accomplish with the talents and skills I have worked very hard at developing over the course of this 30 years young lifetime of mine. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was definitely interested in performing, but my main objective was to live in California. Listening to that Led Zeppelin song over and over again in High School probably had something to do with that. Oh and Joni Mitchell too.
The West Coast has always called out to me, ever since I was a little girl watching movies like "La Bamba" and "Back to the Beach." Many revelations were had on this trip. Hiking in Oregon, sleeping on a Beach Front camp in Washington, wandering onto a holistic herb farm in Northern California with the most hospitable crew and beautiful land for camping and playing music. Just the beauty of this country was enough to fill my head and heart with so many feelings of peace and calm. To see this land from one border to another and realize what a beautiful country we live in.
Oh and did I mention the people? Every place we went, the way we see the world was constantly challenged by kindness. In Washington, we were pretty intimidated. Ania and I are pretty tough for 2 petite California hippy girls. We both have an East Coast toughness that can only be inherited from growing up in neighborhoods that do not brag about great health food co-ops. Were we come from, our hippy attitudes on peace and love were actually the source of ridicule in some of the places we called home. So we were on-guard when we encountered the mountain men of the NorthWest. Turns out that behind their rough exterior and gun-toting "don't tread on me" toughness lies a similar compassion for their human brothers and sisters. Many strangers offered camping wisdom, science education, information on parks that 2 city girls must not miss out on, and most importantly, kindness.
|Ruby Beach, WA|
The teacher in me is always asking what can be learned from an experience. On this trip I learned to practice what I preach in my lessons. I learned how to trust myself, look at the world around me, and seek to find the peaceful connection between everyone I meet, no matter how different our backgrounds may be. We all want the same thing. We all want to be happy, helpful, skillful. We all want to be appreciated.
When I got shocked back into modern-day city life, I walked into my first piano lesson refreshed and ready to jam out. The hours flew by as my students and I created music that spoke to us in the moment. We talked about music and how it makes us feel happy and sad and how great it is at filling us with so much joy.
I think I got the message on this trip. Peace is something we all crave right now. The anniversary of the NYC attacks will happen in just a few days. I notice more people talking about peace and understanding, and I can't help but wonder if John Lennon's peace message really is catching on again. It feels so good to think this. So, this year's theme for the school year is
"Give Peace Songs a Chance"
named affectionately after John Lennon's peace anthem "Give Peace a Chance." My personal goals are to record an album of peace songs by the end of the school year and host a CD release party/recital with my students. For my students, I challenge you to play as many peace songs this year as you can. Practice on your own, play for your parents, teach friends, and perform them for audiences. I know that if we just surround ourselves with music that makes us feel kind and happy, we will spread this feeling out into the rest of the world.